Osaka Museum of History, learning the long history of Osaka!

If I were to tell you that Osaka is just as rich in history as Kyoto or even Nara, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Osaka is known for many things: being the second largest city in Japan, amazing food, great shopping— but there is also an amazing history here too! If you want to learn something about the vast history of Osaka, but don’t have a lot of time to do it, you should definitely head to the Osaka Museum of History!


Getting to the Osaka Museum of History

The Osaka Museum of History is right in front of the Tanimachi 4-chome Station off the Tanimachi Subway and the Chuo Subway Line. The museum is in a very tall building next to NHK, so you can’t miss it.

The Osaka Museum of History

Osaka museum of history building and that NHK building
Osaka Museum of History (right)
red circular tiles on the floor in the Osaka museum of history
Osaka Museum of History.The red tiles represent where the pillars of the where the first Naniwa Palace stood.

Once you get your ticket, you will go up to the top 10th floor. From there, you will make you way down the exhibit halls too the 7th floor. As you cover each floor, you will move through time, from ancient Osaka all the way to the present day.

The 10th floor tells the story of Naniwa Palace. One of the most striking things of the 10th floor is the reconstruction of Naniwa Palace’s ceremony hall, the Daigoku-den. From this floor, you can have a good view of the Naniwa Palace site.

replica of the Naniwa Palace Ceremony Hall in the Osaka Museum of History
replica of the Naniwa Palace Ceremony Hall in the Osaka Museum of History
View of Naniwa Palace site from the 10th floor of the Osaka History Museum
View of Naniwa Palace site from the 10th floor

On the 9th floor, you can enjoy the some of the era of the Hongan-ji monks, but most of the floor is about Osaka in the Edo Period. Osaka went through many great changes in the Edo Period, such as refining aspects of Osaka’s culture and food, so this was a very important time for Osaka.

accurate scale model of the the Ishiyama hondan-ji temple in old Osaka
Model of the original Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple
model bridge of one of Osaka many old bridges in the Osaka history museum
In the past, bridges played a big role in Osaka’s identity as the people of Osaka, not the government, built many of the city’s bridges.
boat shaped danjiri with wooden statue of a dancing man in the Osaka History Museum
Funa danjiri circa early 19th century.

The 7th and 8th floor focuses on Osaka in the 1920s. During the 20’s Osaka City prospered and Osaka became the biggest city in Japan, known as the Dai-Osaka era. In the Dai-Osaka era, many buildings such as Osaka Castle, Osaka City Central Public Hall, and even Midosuji Street were built.

exhibit of the dai osaka period at the Osaka museum of history
Dai-Osaka exhibit

Points of Interest

Naniwa Palace Site Tour

Part of the archaeological site of the former Naniwa Palace is under the Osaka Museum of History and NHK buildings. Since the remains of the palace are under these buildings, the site is typically off limits. However, the museum offers a free volunteer guided tour of site. While tour takes place every hour, you have to apply for the tour before it starts. This application process takes roughly 20 minutes.

On Sunday’s from 3 o’clock there is another special 40-minute tour, guided by researcher from the museum. Each tour group is limited to 40 people, though I doubt groups rarely fill up.

underground remains of Naniwa Palace in Osaka
Site of former Naniwa Palace

Hoenzaka Archaeological Site

In addition to uncovering the remains of Naniwa Palace, archaeologist also found the remains of 16 warehouses that predate the palace. Historians and archaeologist theorize that these buildings were part of Naniwa-zu, the largest port in ancient Japan. The building in front of the museum is a replica of one of these warehouses. The Hoenzaka Archaeological Site spans the area in front of the museum as well, but was covered over in order to protect it.

old style Japanese warehouse in front of the Osaka Museum of History
Replica of Hoenzaka warehouse. If you join the Naniwa Palace tour, they will take you inside this building and talk about the evolution Osaka’s ports and canals.

Osaka Museum of History

Address4-1-32 Otemae, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 〒 540-0008
Hours of OperationWeds-Mon:
Dec 28-Jan 4
Admission FeeAdults600 yen

Students (University and High School)400 yen

Children (Middle School and Elementary School): Free

Coming next time,
Kishiwada Castle

The adventure continues…

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